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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | Last updated: 12:50am

Electronic bikes deprive students of exercise, cash



For some students, riding their bike to classes is the only form of exercise they get. Sometimes the Student Recreation Center is either too far from students’ dorms or they don’t have time to hit the gym. So why would students want to invest in a bike that does all the work for them? Spending about $2,250 on a personally customized, electronic bike rather than peddling a $200 bike with their own energy is not better for students’ bodies or their wallets.

Taylor Hedberg, a senior studying entrepreneurship, management information systems and operation management, along with alumnus John-Mark Bantock and Eller College graduates Lindsey Erlick and Sam Ellis hatched a plan to start a bike-share program in 2010. But in September of that year in Las Vegas they thought of a different idea: the e-bike. The team attended the Interbike International Trade Expo, where they realized their original idea wasn’t what they wanted to sell at all. Thus, Velocis Bikes was born.

The company’s website says the e-bike is “powered by lithium ion manganese battery which is better than lead acid batteries.” This may be a greener form of battery, but it’s still a battery that needs to be disposed of. Nothing is more eco-friendly than peddling a bike with your own energy.

Around campus, the response was a definite yes when asked if they would prefer a manual bike as opposed to an e-bike.

“If I biked to classes, then at the end of the day my legs would be sore,” said Dario Foroutan, a business marketing freshman. “It definitely helped when I didn’t have time to go to the Rec Center.”

Marianella Meza, a family studies freshman, went even further by stating, “The electric bike completely changes the definition of a bike. Nothing is greener than physically moving the bike (yourself).”

With the obesity epidemic in mind, pedaling a bike for a mile or two every day wouldn’t hurt students at all. Every student worries about the freshman 15 at one point or another during their time in college. It may not seem much to bike to classes and around campus, when in fact, that little amount of exercise could be securing a longer life in the future. There are many students who actually do enjoy biking to classes and around campus, taking in the scenery and the breeze. It’s a stress reliever. It’s also satisfying to know that your legs are taking you where you want to go, and not the battery. Besides, if you knew you could go electric, wouldn’t you be tempted to use it instead?

Riding (or should I say sitting) on an electric bike defeats the purpose of owning a bike. With the retail price more than $2,000, the e-bike doesn’t make sense. Tuition and other associated costs are already burning a hole in students’ wallets — do they really want to spend more just so they don’t have to use their legs? A manual bike is the most eco-friendly, healthy and economical transportation.

— Cheryl Gamachi is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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